A needle guidance system employing ultrasound region tracking for precision biopsy procedures

MSc assignment

It is quite common in medical examination and medical treatment to guide a needle to a specific point in the body. This is done to perform a biopsy, for example. To be able to visualize the needle and the destination of the needle, the doctor needs to be able to look into the body. This can be done in various ways, such as with an ultrasound scan. However, the procedure can still be difficult since most ultrasound scans are 2D, while the body is 3D. Because of this, it is hard for the doctor to visualize the exact position of the needle since one dimension is missing. Consequently, it would be beneficial for both doctors and patients if a product could be developed that could assist the doctor in this task.

As a result, research can be done to develop a system that can determine a point on the ultrasound image where the doctor wants to perform a biopsy and guide the needle there with the use of servomotors. The ultrasound scan can be performed by a Telemed MicrUS, a USB ultrasound system. Subsequently, the needle and the lesion should be located using region tracking. The needle guidance system should bring the needle to the correct location using the servomotors. These will be controlled based on the distance between the lesion and the needle tip. This technological development could assist the doctor in guiding the needle to the lesion in a more accurate and precise manner.

Hence, the goal of this MSc assignment is to develop an ultrasound-based needle guidance system that can track the needle and its destination in the body. The following question could then be formed: What are the advantages and disadvantages of an ultrasound probe-mounted needle guide tool which automatically aligns a biopsy needle to a dynamically tracked lesion?